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Anthropology of an American Girl: Review

Some friends of mine have this intensive book review blog, the Reading Teen and their website, Parental Book Reviews which is pretty helpful if you like to read. Especially if you like to read Young Adult books. I did a guest post for them on a book I just finished. It starts out like this:

Hilary Thayer Hamann. 2009. Spiegel & Grau: New York.

Right from the start, it must be said: This book is a brick. Not just a brick but pretty much brick in every sense of a way a book could be a brick. For starters, I am pretty sure these 600 pages could be used to hold open a door or be plastered into your wall to give it strength. My copy fell into the bathtub and still survived, instead just adding another inch of strength to its massive form.

Yet, it’s a brick between the covers too. It has moderate violence, heavy profanity, very heavy sexual content, and also includes drugs, underage drinking, smoking, and suicide.

But don’t throw out the Anthropology of an American Girl just yet. It was really good. In fact, maybe even a potential classic. There is no way I would categorize this book as young adult, not just because of its “heavy” content, but really just because I don’t think its intended audience is teenagers. This book explores the soul- your own soul. Which is really heavy. . . ”

If you want to read the rest of it, you can at by CLICK on this LINK HERE.


My Reflections on Childbirth: Reducing the Misery of Delivery in Developing Countries

I have a friend going as a humanitarian missionary to Tanzania and India. This is part of her practical in being trained through a birth attendant school, so she can continue helping women in this way. She needs $1500 by tomorrow for her plane tickets, not including other expenses which she has for the next eight months.

Just reading how she describes where she will being going to aid, breaks my heart. Yes, I have had two births which were “natural” in the sense that I did not have functioning epidural. It hurt like hell! Or at least, somewhat close to what I imagine hell would feel like. I had at least 3 people helping me, each time as well! And, I never had to be afraid my baby would die, let alone myself. I gave birth under way too close supervision and at a great hospital, which is very close to some of the best hospitals in the world I could be transferred to in a worst-case scenario. For these women, their death or their babies’ death is a grave possibility. In general, their health is in jeopardy because of the impoverished conditions they live in. In the United State the infant mortality rate is 6:1000. This rate goes up in significant correlation to poverty.  Ya, to top of the misery of delivery, having your sweet baby not even survive? That gives a new meaning to postpartum depression.

Infant Mortality Rate World Map

Yet, in my opinion what is worst of all, many of these women might not have any form of peace. I don’t fear death, or what comes after because I have a relationship to whom I believe is the one true God, in Jesus. Even when I was worried, in extreme pain, and fatigued in labor, I was yelling out conversations to God (really funny weird ones, so I am told) which gave me total peace inside. Heck, not only was I yelling that everyone in the room and world was birthed by some mom somewhere (from the same part of their mom’s body) I was also telling the nurses and my support how wonderful they were and how much I loved them. Odd, I’ve been told. But like I said, I had peace and happiness; we cracked jokes the whole time in between screams of pain.

There are cultural issues too, which can affect these women. Often, in India at least, female children are not accepted. Abortions, infant deaths (let alone other mysterious or not so mysterious death of women) is not uncommon. I am not too sure how I would feel giving birth to a girl, knowing my husband might shun me if I don’t produce a boy child. Just to make it worse! Do these women have spiritual help and emotional support during the crazies of pregnancy and delivery?

These women need help, which Jennifer can help offer. There are other people and organizations to give to as well, or even take a short term trip to a place where you can assist. If you are interested, check out her post below:


“I just wanted to touch base with you about the amazing things that God has been doing this past month while I have been here in Australia. We are into week six of lecture phase, so far we have covered women’s health issues in developing nations, pregnancy, labor and delivery. We have also have nature and character of God, and this week is team dynamics and team unity. It has been very intense and stretching for me personally. I came here to Perth with a passion for women and children’s health and much to my amazement God is daily increasing that passion. My eyes have been opened to the injustice in this area across the world. So many woman and children are dying and don’t have to be! I find my self talking to every person I meet about these things, whether it is someone here on the base, or random people on the train… It seems to be always on my mind. I think that this is what it feels like to really find that thing that you were created to do!
My team is made up of 16 women from 7 different countries. We will be going to Tanzania for 6 months and then India for 2 months.
We saw a picture that really touched my heart, it of a hospital in Tanzania, the labor room. There were 45 woman in a small room, all in active labor. There are five beds that are steel and not every woman even gets a bed, they are sitting on the floor and under the beds. There is not room for them to walk around or even move. There is no family permitted in the labor room and no food is given at all. If the woman wants a drink of water her family has to have it brought it. There are not enough nurses or doctors to take care of them all. So many problems go unnoticed and untreated, leading to many unnecessary deaths. This is the reason that I want to go, there is so much need and so much that can be done.

So this is what God is putting on my heart to do, but in order for this to happen I need help. I can’t do it on my own. There are ways that you can partner with me and my team in this work that God is doing. I need people who are willing to financially support either with a one time gift, or by becoming a monthly supporter. Will you consider joining with me in this? Here is the information for you if you do:

If mailed in the states:
425 south A Street
Lompoc CA 93436
-Make checks out to Jennifer Combs

If mailed to Australia:
PO Box 8501
Perth Business Centre, WA 6849
-Make checks out to YWAM

OR you can make payments online at:
Just put my name in recipient and check the outreach fees box.

Thank you so much for your support and prayers! Your such a valuable part of my life!”

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Monday’s Thoughts

Today is the first time its actually snowed during the daytime this winter here in NOVA. I like the snow, its exhilarating. What I don’t like is snow on the ground long enough to get dirty. In fact, I am pretty sure snow should only exist for a few days at a time, then it should be 75 degrees and sunny. That is one of the most confusing things to me about living were there are seasons. If its winter, even if its sunny out it will still be freezing cold. The sun was out the other day and it was in the teens. In CA, it might be cold for a few days, but once the sun really comes out, its warm again (even if its “winter”). Already the sun has come out today after this short-lived snow fall. Now the snow will melt, even while its still beautiful. Then it will just be nasty cold outside with no reward for the weather.

After being the President for eight years, what would you feel like the day before you left office? Especially when the hope of the nation is on removing you and replacing you with the smooth new guy? What would you do? Would you be satisfied, even if many hate you? Would you be in regret? Would you just be so excited to not be president, or would you be sad. I would hate being president. It is pretty much near the top of my most undesirable job-list. But I would be curious to feel what Bush feels today. Just one day, and not necessarily a very influential one at that.

Although Inauguration always falls at the same time, near Martin Luther King Jr. Day, this year it seems remarkably odd that the days fall back to back. There have just been so many references tying Obama and Martin Luther King Jr. that it seems like it should be a set up. Yet in reality, its normal. Weird.

I read a qoute today I liked on my Starbucks cup. It was pretty much “The person who will someday walk on Mars is alive today. Its probably a two year old little girl in China.” I like the quote on the picture, too.

Excitingly, I went through my boxes of Avi’s old baby clothing to pick out anything unisex. It turns out I have a lot more unisex clothing than I was aware of. On a negative note, almost all of it were white onsies or tees to wear under something. But that’s okay. Someday, someone baby boy of ours is coming and I have apparently started “nesting.” I have a lot of thoughts on this, whether it is the pros and cons of where to set up the nursery, the back and forth desires of wanting another baby now and then not, and unknown feelings about having a boy. But, no matter what I think now, it will someday be irrelevant. Someday I will have another child I can’t imagine not having. That will be a good thing.

Have you ever thought of how weird worship music is? If your not accustomed to it it would make no sense. Not only does it sound like confused love songs for someone who doesn’t exist, but your also pledging all your everything to the non-person, claiming to bow down or dance to them. Its pretty dramatic. Only when you force yourself to remember forms of religion have been around forever is there even a context to try to make sense of it. Maybe being able to imagine some foreign stone-aged people bowing down to an idol is a start in understanding. But then moving that to being a current devotion, that people actually worship God, who is not an idol and is unseen: its wild. It doesn’t fit within Western Culture at all. If you tie in Judeo-Christian culture to the Western culture, okay. Then it starts becoming more logical. If you believe and worship God, then it goes beyond logical; its personal, expressive and entirely isn’t weird. That is the category I fall into. But it must be so strange to hear worship music through the worldview of Agnostic-Western Culture, a worldview many people I know have. Sometimes it just amazes me that my worldview is so different from those I am around, as it makes so much sense to me. And I guess in this way I am part of the world, but not of it. We see the world through different shades (to put it lightly).

Don’t Go For The One

Good Advice